Balik Pulau Lodge Boosting Tourism In Penang
An old Chinese Hakka house in Pulau Betong, here, which has been turned into a unique holiday lodge has been drawing tourists, thus also opening doors for other locals to engage in business, especially in the tourism sector. Opened only seven months ago, Balik Pulau Lodge, located in Pulau Betong on a hillslope about 300 metres above sea level, has so far received more than 5,000 guests, beckoned by its rustic charm and cool, tranquil environment.
Founder and owner of Balik Pulau Lodge, Maggie Fong, 45, said she was inspired to establish the holiday lodge by the need to give a new lease of life to the tourism sector in Balik Pulau, besides familiarising others with Hakka culture. A few other old houses on the hillslope have also been turned into homestays by the owners, with the guests also offered durian eating packages, as Balik Pulau is famous for its durian and nutmeg orchards.
Fong described this area in Balik Pulau as an “unpolished gem” that is very suitable for tourism activities like the homestay programme due to its serenity and cool, fresh air. Balik Pulau Lodge is located on a 4.8ha site in an original Hakka settlement said to be more than 100 years old and according to Fong, expansion was in the pipeline due to the good response, especially from foreign tourists who love the unique accommodation and calm natural surroundings.
Surrounding the old house are 12 African-style marquees and 2O movable tents scattered about on 1.2 ha of the 4.8h land. Guests are taken from the foothill in a four-wheel-drive vehicle along a very narrow road to the lodge. “A lot of promotions have been made on Balik Pulau Lodge through the social media, hence its increasing popularity,” said Fong, a Hakka from Johor Baharu who is married to a Penangite. Source.